REPORT: Scottish Technology Industry Survey

Room For More Growth!

The Scottish Technology Industry Survey report looks forward to more growth for Scotland’s tech sector

Research by ScotlandIS, the report describes Scotland’s digital technologies industry as having an optimistic future and continuing to grow sales, profits and headcount, after a strong 2016.

The survey found that 82% of businesses expect sales to increase in 2017 and 78% of those surveyed said they have a very optimistic or optimistic view for the year ahead.

The digital technologies industry’s positive outlook follows the sustained growth of the sector in 2016. Seven out of ten companies reported an increase in sales, some by more than 50% year on year.

Predicted employment growth is also on the up since last year’s survey. Overall 78% of firms forecast that they will hire more staff in 2017, compared with 66 percent in 2016. This rises to 84% for small businesses when taken on their own.

Digital technologies trade body, ScotlandIS, produced the annual survey sponsored in 2017 by Nine Twenty Technology.

Polly Purvis, chief executive of ScotlandIS, said:

“The results of this year’s survey show the confidence and resilience of the digital technologies industry which is continuing to grow and maintain its optimistic outlook despite uncertainties in the political environment.

“This is great news not just for our sector, but also for the economy as a whole. The digital technologies industry generates over £5 billion in GVA for Scotland every year and is becoming more and more important in our increasingly digital world.”

The skills shortage remains an issue for firms but the data showed companies are embracing alternative routes into the sector, with 38% of respondents reporting that they are likely to recruit modern apprentices in 2017, up from 29% last year.

For the first time since 2013, demand for experienced staff has outstripped that for graduates, although the need for university graduates continues to be a priority for firms of all sizes.

Software and web development remain the most in demand skills but there is also a strong requirement for commercial, business support and project management skills, which are required by more than two thirds of companies. In this area sales and business development skills are particularly sought after.

A growing number of firms (73%) expect to recruit the majority of new staff from within Scotland, compared with 60% in 2016. At the same time, the percentage of businesses forecasting that new talent will come from outside the UK has dropped from 21% to 9%.